Friday, December 28, 2007

Tidying up

Although my Facebook status seemed to suggest that I might have already frantically ransacked all our Christmas decor a couple days ago, I am still currently sitting in the Christmas wonderland that is our living room. Cold Mountain is on TV - Bravo maybe? Hey Jude is about to get shot... oops - sorry if I just ruined that 5-year-old movie for you. Alas, poor Nicky.

I just finished rifling through two boxes of baby toys, attempting to sort out which ones can be sold and which ones should be kept. Eeesh. That is a can of worms that I don't really feel like cracking open today. Regardless, my desire to tidy the house ended up focussed on the spare room. You know how there is always a place in every house that ends up being the final destination for all the junk? In our house, that is the spare room. I think I O.D.ed on Clean Sweep (the TLC show - is that still on?) a few years ago, and I suddenly felt compelled to do some extreme tidying today. The fact that Shannon is coming in a month may also be a partial inspiration. The fact that the spare bed wasn't visible this morning was the other inspiration.

Goodness, I'm rambly tonight, eh?

Anyhow, I know I don't usually just ramble for ramblings' sake, but I thought I should stop by and say hello again, lest you all thought we'd gotten lost at the snowhill back on Christmas Day. Not lost, no no... Chilled a little, but not lost.

What a lovely way to spend a snowy Christmas Day! Especially the part where Keith and Jude - no, not the one from Cold Mountain, but Kai's friend's dad Jude - kept tossing snowballs at the kids as they played at the playground. Good clean fun! Oh yes, playgrounds in Boulder are open, even in the wintertime. The snow just makes the slippery parts that much more challenging...

Jude was actually a name that we (or was it just I?) considered for Kai. I don't think Jude even made the shortlist, but I have always liked the name. Maybe our next dog will be a Jude.

Last but not least, Christmas morning exhaustion sets in (note the wing-flipping):

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry and Bright and Snowy

May your day be full of surprises, love, warmth and cheer.

We're going to have lunch and then head out on our way to go sledding on the new 4-8" of snow. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A visit from the elves

When Keith was a kid, some of Santa's elves would pay a visit early on Christmas Eve to deliver a package with new pajamas. Those same elves have been visiting us over the last couple years, and tonight was no exception.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kai's Christmas meme

Kai is visiting us as a guest blogger here today, answering questions about his Christmas traditions, because he has so many. The questions are from a Christmas-themed meme I saw over at Frog and Toad Are Still Friends, and I thought that it might be entertaining to find out what Kai thinks about Christmas.

For the record, I'm not making any of this up. These are his answers, as verbatim as I can type.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Kai: Wrapping paper, because you have to wrap something that's in a box, and you need a box and wrapping paper, and you do that if... if it's on your birthday not Christmas. On Christmas you make Christmas cards for some people and Santa comes and gives you presents only if you’re good and if you’re bad you’ll get coal and that’s because you were bad.

2. Real tree or artificial?

K: Well, let’s talk about… um… let’s talk about these two things. Let’s actually talk about Chia Cat Grass and Chia pets instead. So trees are for squirrel’s homes, and they collect nuts for the winter, and they only collect nuts. Lots and lots and lots of nuts, so they can be warm and cozy when they’re sleepy. And... (big pause)

Becky: Is there more?

Yeah, there is. The Ov Glove can not get your fingers to burn, it can protect you fingers and it can hold onto slippery dishes, and the Ov Gloves are used by fire fighters, and that’s, um, people always make sure it’s the ov Glove. Number 3?

3. When do you put up the tree?

K: When it’s not Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Eve you hang your stockings. When you put your tree up, you leave it up until Christmas Eve because your house needs to be decorated, because if it’s not, I think Santa won’t come to your house, and that’s maybe because it’s not Christmas there. Done. Number 4?

4. When do you take the tree down?

K: Well, you do it when it’s not Christmas, and it’s not Christmas Eve, and it’s not nighttime. That’s when you take it down. Right mommy?

B: right.

5. Do you like eggnog?

K: What’s eggnog?

B: It's a drink that's made with milk and eggs and it's a little sweet, and very creamy, and... well, yeah. It's very rich and sweet.

K: nope.

6. Favourite gift received as a child?

K: (Looking over at the Christmas tree…) Ummm. Cute ducky. (with conviction) Puddles.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

K: What’s a nativity scene?

B: It's the thing over on the TV stand with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph and the wise men and angel.

K: yes.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

K: I don’t have a person who’s hard to buy for.

9. Easiest person to buy for?

K: I don’t have that in my mind either.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

K: I don’t know. I’ve never had a worst gift.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

K: Well, I’m giving Dad and Lee a Christmas card, and I really think they don’t know this, and I want them to open it when I ask them to, and maybe they will do that. And in the mail I got a card that sings and the card sings… uh… where’s that card? Oh, it’s right here. My card sings “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do, no crocodiles or rhinocerosuses (sic), I only like hippopotamususes (sic), and hippopotamuses like me too.”

12. What is your favourite Christmas movie?

K: The Grinch. Actually, no. I don't have a favourite movie.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

K: you don't.

B: Why?

K: Because you buy stuff for Christmas from a store, you don't buy Christmas. Right mom?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

K: (wild laughter, pause, then coyly) No.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

K: Marshmallows. They're so so so so so yummy.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?

K: (looks at the tree) Clear lights are on the tree.

17. What is your favorite Christmas song?

K: Um. Jingle Bells. Now I have two questions - why has Santa come to town when it's Christmas to give you toys?

B: Maybe because he has lots of toys and he needs to give them away?

K: That's right. Now why does he come when it's Christmas eve?

B: Because when St. Nicholas first started giving out presents he wanted to do it on Jesus' birthday to remember the gift that God gave us...

K: (not listening at all, still playing with the singing hippopotamus card)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

K: We're going to have a Christmas vacation. That's go away for Christmas.

B: But we're staying here.

K: No we're not. We're going to have a Christmas vacation.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

K: Prancer, Vixen, Donner and Cupid and Rudolph and Blitzen and Donner and Cupid and ... what are the other ones?

B: You only missed Dasher, Dancer and Comet.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

K: I think star.

B: What do we have on our tree?

K: Santa. We have lots of Santas.

B: Is that okay?

K: yeah. And bells. And gingerbread men.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

K: Christmas eve. I mean morning.

22. What I love most about Christmas?

K: Opening the presents!

Second cousins for Christmas

Keith's side of the family received a couple early Christmas presents this past week as two little ones make their debuts. Keith's cousin Beth and her husband Ryan had sweet little Sophia Marie on December 19, and yesterday his cousin Tony's wife Tasha gave birth to the adorable Kian Douglas. Congratulations to all of you... they're beautiful, and I can't wait to meet them - not to mention the other little ones who have been born over the last year whom we still haven't met. With 15 first cousins on this particular side of Keith's family, there seems to be no end in sight to the next generation, but I for one couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First day of the season

I know that many runs have been open for weeks (months?), but this was my first time out this season.

I know my goggles look crooked, but they weren't. Honest.

The ol' "through the goggles" shot. My new goggles are rose-tinted. Everything is so pretty with rose-coloured goggles.

This signpost made me laugh. Here we are, coming down the hill, and we're presented with these two options. I know it's hard to read, so I blew it up a little for you:

Hmm... should I take the more difficult run, or the run that is more difficult? Maybe it's the nerd in me, but I found this funny.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Do they know it's Christmastime...

Lately we've been working on the concept of here versus everywhere else. For instance, a week or so ago Kai suggested that when it is nighttime here, that it is nighttime all over the world.

Um... not exactly my dear, I explained, "the Earth is turning, and half of it faces the sun while the other half is facing away from the sun. So it is nighttime here, but in other places it is daytime."

To which he replied, "that's not what dad said".

Uh huh. I'm pretty sure Keith knows about the whole day/night timezone thing. Something must have been lost in translation. Nevertheless, I can see that this bedtime question comes from a similar place:

Kai: Mom? When it's Christmas here, is it Christmas all over the world?

Me: Yes... well, for everyone who celebrates Christmas, it's Christmas on the same day.

K: Everyone celebrates Christmas?

B: Uh, no sweetie, I said everyone who celebrates Christmas. Some people don't know about Christmas...

K: We should tell them!


He makes it sound so simple, eh?

The coolest part is that I was able to explain to him that his friends Danya and Tima's parents are missionaries in a place called Russia, where they get to tell people about Christmas and Jesus. (I'm going to miss them when they head back next month.) Perhaps tomorrow we'll take a look at Russia on our globe. Or maybe we'll look at the U.S.S.R., because our garage-saled globe is a little outdated. Either way, it's nice to be able to put a real context to conversations like this. And perhaps we can address the whole day/night thing while we're at it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hockey skates and new tires

Overheard at our place this morning:

Me: Merry Christmas, Keith. Look, I bought you two new tires for Christmas. Aren't they wonderful?

Him: Oh, Becky, wow... I don't know what to say... that's so sweet. And what a coincidence, because I bought you two new tires, too. And while we're at it, here are those new wiper blades you've always wanted.

Me: Gosh, sweetie. Thanks. I will cherish them for as long as the warranty allows.

Him: Me, too.

The end.


Kind of warms that heart, eh? At least we will be safer when we go skiing and mountaining and stuff. Apparently when your tires have almost no tread, that's not a good thing.

It's freakishly cold here today. At least it was sunny. And at least we're not supposed to get 20-40 cm of snow over the next 24 hours. At least there's that.

And at least we got to go skating for free, with two more firsts: Kai's first time on single-blade skates, and my first time on hockey skates. Free skating with free skate rentals seemed like a good opportunity to try out hockey skates. They're not too different from figure skates, but with that added front to back rocking thing that tends to send you unexpectedly onto your backside. Kai had the same issue with them, so we swapped his skates for figure skates half way through. Shhh.... don't tell his 15-year-old self.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In a Funk

Apparently I haven't written anything since August 27. Even before that I guess I hadn't written much over the past year, possibly longer. There isn't any particular reason for this absence, I just haven't had much to say. But now I do.

On November 4th I was offered a spot on a hockey team and through a couple of generous gifts we were able to pay for the season. Ice time here in the USA is much more expensive that it is back home. So once playing on a team became much more affordable I jumped at the opportunity to play again. The team I play on is Dafoe Electric, I wear #20. The really cool thing is that we use the Toronto Maple Leafs logo. I am having a great time playing again.

In January I start Advanced Mountaineering School with the Boulder group of the Colorado Mountain Club. One vital piece of equipment that I have recently purchased with some Christmas money is a pair of plastic mountaineering boots. Warm dry feet are a necessity.
There are many things I have been thinking about lately and over the next few weeks I will start to post more often, I promise.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The opinions expressed in the following post are all mine.

It has been about a year since I had to ask my brother what "w00t" meant. Evidently, I had been sadly uninformed about the coolspeak that was invading my generation's vocabulary. You know, things like "d00d" and "how r u doin?" and "l8r"? {shudder} Wow... I couldn't even type those things in quotes just now without feeling lame. You see, I'm in my 30s. I'm a mom. I just feel that I'm too old to pull off writing with text-message shortforms (especially when I'm not texting, which is, well, most of the time.) And even though I can write a word like "lame" and know that most of you know that I'm not feeling injured but rather just "uncool", I have to draw the line somewhere.

Maybe I'm just a perfectionist when I type. If I know how to spell something, I spell it correctly. If I don't, I generally try to look it up. I enjoy the shift key, and I actually take pride in capitalizing my first-person singular pronoun.

That's "I", by the way. But of course you knew that.

So you can likely imagine how I felt when I read this article from Reuters. Are they serious? "w00t"? with zeros even? Merriam-Webster's "word of the year"?

Speaking of lame...

It's not that I'm against the idea of "w00t". I recognize that it has a place in society and language. I even laughed out loud* when I saw it included in this, one of the funniest little viral e-mails (aka internet time wasters) I've ever seen.

A little warning to those with sensitive eyes, there is some bad language in that link, but it's still very funny. Unless, that is, you are easily offended by needless anger directed towards kangaroos.

Where was I? Oh yeah... I'm not against the idea of w00t having it's place blah blah blah, but come on. A dictionary? Words with numbers instead of letters? I'm the person who flat out refused to watch "Numb-three-ers" because it just annoyed me that they use a 3 instead of an e (although I have been told I would like it by a few people... yeah yeah.) But surely a dictionary should have a standard of validity to what constitutes a word.

Oh right - my favourite part:

Merriam-Webster President John Morse said "w00t" reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards to type words. "People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A," he said. "This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character."

Sorry, but is he on crack? "more efficient"?

Maybe I am a hypocrite. I use words like "yeah" and "lame" and "blah blah blah", but I draw the line at "l8r" and converting letters into numbers. Am I being unfair? Am I just being stubborn? Do I need to just accept that this is the way of the future? What do you think?

*see!? I can't even write lol when I blog, because it just rubs me the wrong way.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Icing

Thanks so much for all the lovely compliments on our cookies. As for the icing (I refuse to call it frosting), I have had this recipe since I worked as a page at the Children’s Library in Barrie.

ah... the Annex. Such fond memories... like the time that old man drove right up over the walkway in front of the library, somehow managing to miss all the support posts that held up the pergola, dropping down over the 3-foot retaining wall into the big Unistoned(TM) area in front of City Hall (is there a word for that place?) and out the other side making an easy right turn onto Collier Street without missing a beat. Good times.

Anyhow, one of the librarians had a cake business on the side (or maybe the librarianing was on the side?) Regardless, she was kind enough to share her “professional icing” recipe with me. It generally works well for me, but from time to time I’ve had issues with it, as Keith can attest. I think I’ve ironed out most of the kinks:

2/3 cup shortening
4 cups icing sugar
5 tablespoons milk (more if necessary)

Yes – shortening, not butter. "You get a whiter white icing when you use shortening rather than butter." And thankfully, now you can avoid all those nasty trans fats since shortening-makers have seen the error of their ways and eliminated them.

Blend together the shortening, 2 cups of the icing sugar and 3 tablespoons of the milk. (I use the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid, but regular egg beater attachments on a hand mixer work, too.) Add one more cup of icing sugar and one more tablespoon of milk and blend again. Add the last cup of icing sugar and the last tablespoon of milk and blend again. At this point, if the icing is too thick (i.e.: not easily spreadable), add another tablespoon of milk and blend. I find that if anything, it is generally too thick rather than too thin at this point… you want to be able to spread it, but keep in mind that if you add too much milk it will melt into a shapeless mass rather than retain its shape when piped. Trust me, I know.

At this point, you can separate the icing into bowls and add food colouring or cocoa powder for chocolate icing.

Oh, one last thing – the original recipe included the option of adding almond extract: somewhere between a quarter and an eighth of a teaspoon. I tried it once and promptly stopped. It adds a distinctive flavour to the icing, but I found it was a little, uh… too distinctive.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Proof that I'm not Martha

But I can still just have fun with my kid.

Happy cookie making, everyone!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snow and chocolate

My jealously over the copious amount of snow that has fallen on southern Ontario came to an abrupt end today.

We're currently at ~3" and counting, with as much as 7" predicted. (That's 17.78 of your Canadian centimetres, Christian.) I know - it's nothing compared to what happened in Port Sydney, but what it does mean is that there is a LOT of snow in the mountains, and that makes for great skiing.

*cue Becky daydreaming...

{shoop shoop shoop}

If only I was that elegant on skis.

Anyhow, it is absolutely beautiful here. Not so much fun to drive in, but I've never been afraid of a little snow and ice on the roads. Growing up in Barrie helped with that.

The best thing about being outside in the snow? Having hot chocolate with your lunch.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bears, Wheels and Secrets with Santa

Kai is starting to read! When I think about it, I really have no concept of when kids start learning to read on average, but I think it's safe to say that I really don't care. I'm just excited that it's happening! The magic book is "Bears on Wheels" - Kai read almost the entire story to me tonight. The "twenty-one on none" page is very exciting, I tell ya. I know he is primarily memorizing the words, rather than sounding them out, but I do know that he's looking at the words and not just reciting them.

Anyhow, it is a while since he learned to crawl, or walk, or eat with a utensil (though at times it seems that he has forgotten that skill), so it is fun to see him hitting another milestone. Of course, I know it'll be a long process, but it's exciting to see him so interested in learning to read!

In other news, Kai and I went to the annual kids' Christmas party at my work last weekend. In addition to participating happily in a number of well-organized activities, Kai sat on Santa's knee and had his photo taken. Afterwards, he and Santa had a long chat with a lot of gesturing (on Kai's part) and a lot of nodding (on Santa's.) What I would have given to have heard what was said!

And yes, Kai decided that Puddles should also be in the photo - but WOW that duck looks dirty. I think it has been at least a few weeks since his last "bath".

Friday, November 30, 2007

Trip recap OR Just post something and get it over with already.

I know - I didn't post last night, but I believe I said "maybe even tonight". Instead of posting, I sent myself to bed around 9 PM because I felt that cold coming on. You know, the one that chased us around Ontario? The one that everyone was either just getting over when we arrived at their doorsteps or getting just as we pulled out of their driveways? Yeah. That one. Keith got it as we were driving across southern Ontario on our way to the passport office to pick up Kai's passport so that we could get back into the U.S. (we like living on the edge). Anyhow, Keith managed to kick it by the time we were pulling into our own driveway two and a half days later, but last night it looked like it was going to be my turn to get it.

I swear, I am the queen of digression.

I have been thinking a lot about posting for the last two weeks. I've been chewing over all the many things that I could tell you about our trip. But all in all, it seems it will likely end up becoming a very long, boring post about things that you hardly care about, so I've been putting it off because I don't know where to start or where to end or how much detail to include.

[Suddenly a Monty Python dude appears in my kitchen and screams "GET ON WITH IT!"]

Sheesh... Alright already.

I'll try to keep things brief and in point form.

Highlights from our trip

aka Doing all the Canadian things that I could:

  • Consuming as much Tim Horton's coffee as possible
  • Eating ketchup chips
  • Buying Toronto Maple Leafs stuff
  • Enjoying a Swiss Chalet Front Quarter Festive Special (Mmmm... Lindt)
  • Watching Hockey Night in Canada (and seeing the Leafs cream Ottawa.)
  • Purchasing a big box with a variety Cadbury chocolate bars from Costco.
  • Going to the LCBO (aka Lick-Bo)
  • Shopping at Dollarama and the William-Ashley Warehouse Sale
  • Snowmobiling
  • Eating poutine (thanks Dwayne!)
  • Discussing the weather
  • Tobogganing
  • Wearing a toque
  • Sitting on a chesterfield
OK, so the last bunch are possible here in Boulder, and I don't actually call it a chesterfield, ever, but I still did all of those things in Canada, so I am allowed to mention them here. Feel free to add to the list if you witnessed me doing any other particularly Canadian things.

More highlights

Playing with new toys
(aka Christmas presents):

Meeting this little cutey:

Playing in the snow:

Kai and I each going on our very first snowmobile rides:

Kai's expression as we wandered around Winter Wheat:

Taking Kai to his very first Santa Claus parade:

And finally, spending time with cousins and brothers and sisters-in-law and parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends... it was absolutely wonderful spending time with all of you, and I only wish that we could have seen more of you. Sadly, that just isn't possible on such a short trip.

There are certainly more highlights, but I'm sure that I have already bored you all to tears, so I'll leave you with something recent from here at home that made me chuckle. (A reward, if you will, for getting all the way through this post.) It was from one of those moments in which you think to yourself, I definitely have to write this down.

Things you don't hear everyday:
Two days ago while I was standing at the bathroom sink, Kai pushed past me explaining "Batman has to go potty."

Apparently even superheros need to pee.

G'night all.